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Various trainers recommend always drawing to a certain retention position. This retention position brings the gun up close to the strong side pectoral muscle.

What are your thoughts to this practice?

Also, what is your prefered retention position?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: JM on 2001-07-19 22:11 ]</font>
 

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By "retention" are you referring to a "Ready" position?
If so, am quite happy to follow Chuck Taylor's technique.
 

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By "retention position", I believe JM is referring to the gun raised to the upper torso/pectoral muscle, above the holster (or strong-side hip) with the muzzle pointed towards the threat. I teach this method to my students after first observing it taught by "Jim Grover". The advantage is "muscle memory". The firearm is brought to the exact same index every time, and punched straight out toward the target/threat. It avoids the common practices of low-sweeping (bowling swing) or high-sweeping (fly-casting); both of which are often seen with new shooters when drawing. Raising to retention position and indexing the muzzle immediately on target will also assure the gun clears any barrier/cover in front of the shooter (as in seated behind a desk/table). Mr Hayes; I've read many of your articles and respect your opinion highly. I think we're kind of on the same page here. I don't agree with a pause either. The wrist is rotated so that the muzzle points at the target as soon as it clears leather (or kydex,Mike B.) I've seen this taught with the gun and hand just above the holster; but after trying it myself prefer the above high torso index for the cited obstacle clearence reasons. No disrespect meant, just works for me.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Mark Garrity on 2001-07-20 06:07 ]</font>
 

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Retention position is used when you need retention...seems pretty obvious to me. Short of contact shooting distances any retention position has no advantage in a shooting scenario.

When you need a draw stroke to actually shoot, which is why you would normally take you gun from the holster in the first place, I would suggest you do so adroitly.

A retention position has two areas where it shines, seaching in a closed environment and contact distance altercations which are lethal and the gun can be used, or the same situation and you are attempting to maintain control of your weapon. Of those two, searching and contact shooting, the "contact position" is only truly appropriate for contact shooting. In a search envirnment the "indoor ready" is a better idea.
 

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One way to cure a "bowling" presentation is to have Clint Smith stand with his hands forming a "plane" level with the top of your holster, repeating "DON'T hit my hands with your pistol!" as you dry-practice your presentation. This was circa 1982, when Clint was working for Gunsite. I had changed holsters to a Davis "Realist" and, for some reason, the change induced me to start having a bit of a "bowling" presentation. He broke me of it, pronto.

As to the question of always incorporating the pectoral/retention position into one's drawstroke; I do not favor it. Like Dane, I prefer to make the "draw to retention" a choice. However, it can be done smoothly and quickly. I think some folks object to the idea of a "pause" at the retention position, as it sounds like a waste of time. In fact, the pause can be so brief as to be practically non-existant. I think this assumption that a "pause" must be so exaggerated as to waste lots of time is the reason that some folks decry the "pause" or "assess" step in a Mozambique drill. It can still be a "pause" and be so hyper-rapid as to be invisible to an observer and inconsequential to a timer...but the shooter knows there's a "pause/assess" there.

Rosco
 

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Some of this is borrowed from a previous post to save typing. Sorry if it looks familiar :smile:.

The way I do it is a compilation of a couple of different methods -- primarily influenced by the excellent instruction of Steve Silverman of Firearms Research & Instruction http://www.f-r-i.com. This is also similar to John Farnam's method.

By the numbers:

Grip: Strong hand attains firm, high firing grip on the pistol in the holster; weak hand is placed palm down on the solar plexus (or in high front-block position if necessary in a retention situation)

Rock & Lock: Pistol is tugged straight up until it just clears the holster (don't lean forward, although you'll be tempted to. It'll slow you down). The strong-side elbow rocks down and locks the strong-side wrist against the pectoral muscle. This intermediate high-tuck position allows you to shoot from retention immediately, if necessary. With practice you can get solid upper thoracic hits out to 10-12 yards -- even while moving off the line of force. The thumb safety comes off as the elbow rocks into position.

Clasp: Support hand slides across the chest to meet the strong hand. This keeps your support hand behind the muzzle at all times.

Punch: The hands, with a standard two-handed grip on the pistol, are punched straight out (and slightly up) into firing position. Again, with practice - and if you get into the habit of indexing your wrist in the same spot each time - your gun will come up on target and with the sights in alignment.


I've been working with this method for a couple of years now. With a lot of practice, I've gotten to the point where I can pick a target, close my eyes and draw, and my sights will be nearly dead on and in perfect alignment.

The reasoning behind the high-tuck retention (Position 2) is that it allows you to shoot immediately, if necessary, and keep shooting as the pistol is extended. In addition, it keeps you from overswinging and having to "settle" the sights on the target -- you are swinging a 2-1/2lb weight on the end of a 3 foot pendulum, after all. This method is a tad slower than an IPSC draw, for example, but I think it works pretty well.

I understand the desire to skip the retention step and get the gun on target as quickly as possible. I've just found that this way makes sense and works extremely well for me.

And, yup, the "pause" at Position 2 is nearly non-existant. I know it's there, but I doubt that anyone would ever notice it. I do exaggerate it quite a bit when practicing, though, just to check the index -- kind of like doing a kata.

Chad

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chad Ward on 2001-07-20 14:26 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chad Ward on 2001-07-20 14:27 ]</font>
 

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Seems we are now addressing another topic that the original question. A draw to retention is different that going through "rock and lock" in a draw stroke.

A presentation to a "hard" retention position is not part of a draw stroke per say. You either draw to fire the weapon with as much speed as you are capable or you draw to retention in an attempt to retain your weapon in a physical altercation at very close distances.

I think the methods and intentions of the instructors are easily misconstruded here unless you understand the reasoning behind the techniques and how they are supposed to be used and when.

When a gun is presented at under a second and all the factors are included, "rock and lock" happen, but you aren't stopping at any point other than at the moment of trigger press and surprise break.

So to back up some, do I draw to retention? No, unless I need retention techniques, and at that point I will have wished I had let the gun stay holstered, I suspect.

Do I clear leather and "rock and lock"? Yes of course. "Bowling" with a hand gun is not the best way to keep your gun or the best way to draw from a CCW holster.

Do I use retention techniques including a "retention" position when needed with the gun? Yes. Can you get hits to 15 yards for a retention position? Yes, with some practice. But I will suggest that at 10 feet and out your sights will enable you to do that with less practice and when more stress is applied and you'll get better hits.

I think it is much better to apply renetion techniques such as the "retention position" when you are dealing with CQB at contact distances. I think it better to do an presentation with a fluid motion and clearly faster techniques when you draw the gun to shoot.

Of course there are any number of variations that might make you do any combination of the above. But in general I either draw and am willing to shoot, or I leave my gun holstered to protect it by RETENTION TECHNIQUES. The "retention position" is only a small part of those techniques.
 

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Dane, you're right. I assumed the original poster meant something like the drawstroke I described rather than drawing to a retention position (and holding there, presumably). I think a large part of the difficulty here is that we're all using the word "retention" to mean something different.

Do I draw to retention per se? No, not really. I just pass through a high tuck/index position as part of my drawstroke. If necessary in a belly to belly confrontation I can shoot from there. Beats the hell out of the goofy Taylor "speed rock" anyway :smile:.

Chad

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Chad Ward on 2001-07-20 16:56 ]</font>
 

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I think a large part of the difficulty here is that we're all using the word "retention" to mean something different.
OK then, lets define retention position. Retention position is a high hand at nipple level, hand needs to be tucked deep into arm pit with the elbow locked in a position of strength.

Gun muzzle on a 1911 for most people will be behind eye level.

What you guys have described wouldn't be worth a whole lot for gun retention. Gun is too far forward, body position doesn't protect it, and your elbow is not flexed or in a position of strength.

What you are describing is a traditional four step draw with no "scooping" or "bowling" the weapon on the presentation from the holster.

Back to the topic in question. A good draw is designed for speed. Once you rock and lock you can shoot very easily from position 2 (rock and lock) through 4 ( punch extension surprise break).

A good retention position is meant to retain the weapon. Shooting from that position is secondary and is never a part of a draw stroke.
 
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